Security Industry Association (SIA) member Highpower Security Products is a manufacturer of high-performance access control systems and security equipment. The company also provides design assistance of complete access control systems. Highpower Security is headquartered in Meriden, Connecticut.
SIA spoke with Dan DeMerchant, president of Highpower Security, about the company, the security industry and working with SIA.
SIA: Tell us the story of your company.
Dan DeMerchant: Highpower was founded in 1997 by two business partners who initially worked in the security hardware industry. One founder, Peter Silvestre, was a previous employee of the Lori Lock company and worked developing tooling and production machinery for creating mechanical lock cylinders. As the other founder, I was also a former employee of an electronic division of the same company working as an electrical engineer while in college at the University of Connecticut. Mr. Silvestre left the Lori Lock company when the company was sold to the Ilco company, and I finished my bachelor’s degree at the same time.
The company was initially formed to create a new electromagnetic lock and new types of access control readers. Unfortunately, due to the passing of Mr. Silvestre and the poor viability of the initial product line, specialized electromagnetic locks, the major product lines of the company were scrapped in 2004. Around that time, the company then reorganized its product offerings initially around maglock accessories, soon after to include access control software and later to include electronic RFID card processing. Many of Highpower’s customers are original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers that private-label many of our products.
What solutions/services does your business offer in the security industry? And what makes your offerings/company unique?
DD: Today, Highpower has three product lines, including a hardware line of maglock accessories including pneumatic timers, power supplies, push-button assemblies and other related accessories; an electronic card programming line for printing and provisioning low- and high-frequency RFID card and fobs; and an access control line which has in-house developed software, firmware and access control panels. In the hardware line, Highpower’s mechanical pneumatic timers have become a staple in the industry, with many manufacturers using the product in their push-button assemblies.
One of the unique aspects of Highpower’s current lines is that the lines are all completely designed, supported and manufactured in house with a minimal number of external vendors producing components. Highpower maintains in-house, vertically integrated manufacturing equipment and an in-house design department that makes it competitive for us to offer higher-end unique items along with software and programming services to OEM customers. We can quickly tailor an existing product uniquely to each OEM customer and provide rapid customization and manufacturing with in-house manufacturing equipment.
Our business model is not to create and manufacture a full line of items; we focus on targeted items that we perceive as filling voids in the industry. We analyze the work in the field that our customers and technicians do daily in order to make products that reduce installation time and difficulties. Our in-house design department also supports customers with direct product knowledge as the products are supported by the people that designed them.
What’s something we might not know about your company – or What is your company’s vision, and what are your goals for the security industry?
DD: Highpower has been in business for a long time, over 22 years without direct brand exposure. The majority of our business is OEM, and most of our products are marketed into distribution under other popular industry brand names.
One of Highpower’s new product lines is the first line of multi-door access control panel that can be programmed without a PC and without software; it has an included touch screen that can perform all programming, diagnostic and maintenance operations on the touch screen in a much more complete way than using stand-alone devices. There are features incorporated in this product that were specified directly from technical support cases with earlier, standard panel-type products that we used to produce.
What is your company’s vision, and what are your goals for the security industry?
DD: Highpower’s focus is to offer targeted products that reduce installation times in the field. We also focus on premium hardware that is built in house in order to provide product longevity and increase reliability. Our goal is to keep building the company with organic growth with vertical integration and to provide solutions that save installation time and service calls.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities in the security industry right now?
DD: In our lines, we see the need to inject more powerful board level computers and Internet of Things technologies into the products instead of just using standard microcontroller designs. The integration of more powerful panels adds the ability to do more complex connectivity but makes more sophisticated features more approachable to lower level technicians. We also see demand continuing for legacy card technologies that are being abandoned by other manufacturers due to obsolescence.
What are your predictions for the security industry in the short and long term?
DD: Our prediction is that new technologies will get adopted at a steady pace.
What are the biggest challenges facing your company and/or others in the security industry?
DD: The biggest challenges that we see are the resistance to adoption of new technologies and resistance to change preventing more efficient techniques being introduced to installation procedures. Uneducated customers create high technical support requirements and inefficient installation procedures.
What do you enjoy most about being at your company – and in the security industry?
DD: I enjoy the fact that I have a staff that is proactive and that can react quickly to changes and trends in new product offerings that customers are requesting. Especially in the software area, we can make quick product additions to provide solutions to field scenarios as they arise.
The views and opinions expressed in guest posts and/or profiles are those of the authors or sources and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Security Industry Association (SIA).